Movie Review: “The Sparks Brothers” is a well done doc celebrating fearless creativity

I’m a Sparks noob. Which means I was going to get an authentic documentary experience when I watched The Sparks Brothers, the story of a rock/pop/..miscellaneous band who’s been around for decades, but has always slipped below the radar in the United States, despite their global influence.

We’re introduced to Ron and Russell Mael, brothers from California, who crafted a musical style that was all their own, with bizarre lyrics, strange costumes, and wild videos that took them to the top of the charts in Europe and the UK, but also offered droughts in their career at various points, despite being mimicked by Paul McCartney and idolized by big hit artists like Flea and Beck.

This doc works both because of the Mael’s unique story, and director Edgar Wright, giving us another story told with his own fantastic visual delivery.

You’ll enjoy the black and white testimonials that also include actors like Mike Meyers and Fred Armisen, and the cartoon doodle reenactments should be a real show on their own. And the archive footage is just cut together wonderfully. The Mael’s are great, but Wright really tries to give anyone not familiar with them a vibrant introduction.

It is a long documentary though at 2 hours and 15 minutes. It’s almost like Wright didn’t want to cut any of the praise from the stars. This could have been just as great of presentation at 1 hour 45 minutes. And just like Sparks flew over the head of some back in the day, that could possibly happen here with the uninitiated.

But I’m glad I met the Mael’s. And I learned a whole lot, while appreciating them at a rapid rate as well. And that’s what documentaries are all about.

The Sparks Brothers

GRADE: B

Running Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Rated: R

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